Step into Hotel Valley Ho for the first time, and you’ll likely feel transformed to a different era. Authentic, original – yet renovated mid-century modern architectural elements coupled with charming 1950s music, make this boutique hotel in the heart of south Scottsdale unlike any other. In fact, Hotel Valley Ho is acclaimed by experts as the “best example of mid-century preserved architecture” among all U.S. hospitality properties.
If you arrive in the evening, festive, era-themed holographic art lines some of the hotel’s original concrete and stone panels. Stay in a suite in the attached tower area for spacious lodging with a full kitchen, sunny-style yellow cabinetry, a living room with sleek mid-century modern furniture, and a balcony that overlooks Scottsdale’s iconic Camelback Mountain.
Relax easy, as each room has “jet-setter” themed amenities, based on different locations around the world. For example, soap made with Icelandic moonflower, an aromatherapy feature also available at the Valley Ho Spa.
Only a six-minute Uber ride from Hotel Valley Ho, Camelback Mountain is the highest peak in Phoenix. This 1.47-mile recently renovated Cholla Trail has an elevation gain of 1,350 feet and is rated extremely difficult as a “double black diamond” hike. Incredibly fun, yet challenging depending on your fitness level, expect to pace yourself and take some breaks, as it’s all cardio going uphill. Make sure you wear excellent shoes with traction and pack some gloves. The last 25% is considered rock climbing, requiring scrambling on steep surfaces, balance and use of your feet and hands.
When you reach the top, the views are beautiful, and the air is so refreshing. The trip down varies – some people love it; others prefer the trip up. My wonderful guide, Jennifer Clack, with Mad Desert Trekking, explained it best: returning down the mountain is based more on mental strength, which can be very elating, and the trip up is more physical. For me personally, I loved the beautiful trip down and really enjoyed getting a full view of all the sites during each sliding step, while taking in the crisp morning air.
For an easier hike, check out Papago Park, which includes Hole in the Rock, a moderate less than one-mile hike with scenic views. Another attraction within the park is Hunt’s Tomb, the resting place of Arizona’s first governor, which also showcases a nice skyline view of Phoenix.
A walkable distance from Hotel Valley Ho, and located next to the city’s oldest standing church, The Mission Restaurant, is known for its variety of staple tacos topped with fresh ingredients and veggies. Tableside guac, made to your exact liking, is another must-try, along with a personal favorite, the restaurant’s white bean puree – a creamy mix of garlic, arugula, roasted tomato, cotija, blended to perfection and served with tortilla chips. For the perfect post-hike treat, consider sipping on the restaurant’s prickly pear pink margarita.
For dinner, Hearth ’61, located inside Hotel Valley Ho’s sister property, Mountain Shadows Resort, provides a relaxing and calming atmosphere and an elevated dining experience. Known by locals for having excellent soups, the seasonal butternut squash soup did not disappoint and pairs perfectly with the Duroc Farm’s pork chop, smothered with a Jacob Bean ragu, heirloom carrots, and black pepper glaze.
Definitely opt for dessert. Some stand-out menu items include a plate for seasonal cookies or the seasonal peppermint cheesecake, which tastes very much like a large thin mint cookie. Or you can always cap the night off with a classic espresso dessert martini.
For brunch, Hotel Valley Ho’s ZuZu is a must-visit. With a variety of savory and sweet options on their menu, the Breakfast Enchilada is a unique option with a hearty portion of scrambled eggs, short rib manchaca, jack cheddar, potatoes, and crema + cotija.
Shopping & Local Wine Tasting
Old Town Scottsdale is just a five-minute walk from the property, where unique shopping options can delight almost any traveler. A favorite is the Merchantile of Scottsdale, which sells a variety of locally made items – everything from clothing, accessories, home décor, art, candles, and more.
After an afternoon of shopping, consider stopping by The Wine Collective, a tasting room that sources local wines from local vineyards that are still too small to have their own tasting rooms. It provides for a one-of-a-kind experience.
A hydrating facial is the perfect way to unwind before heading to the airport. The VH Spa offers a facial special for each season. The winter Cozy + Bright facial includes a ProScript Peel and an immune-boosting hand and arm massage with sweet orange, eucalyptus, and frankincense oils, to help activate your immune system and reduce stress – while also moisturizing skin and reducing the effects of a slightly drier Arizona climate.
Before your spa treatment, consider spending time by the pool with retro-style splashes of color. Even on the coldest winter days, when temperatures start at 38 degrees on January mornings, by afternoon, the property’s two pools are an inviting place, complete with a variety of steamy hot tub options and poolside food and drink services.
A prime location, Hotel Valley Ho sits just miles away from the intersection of multiple cities, including Phoenix and Tempe, making it the perfect spot to relax in what feels like a secluded environment – yet explore and be near the excitement and attractions for several upcoming events, including Super Bowl LVII, baseball spring training, and the WM Phoenix Open. It’s also also less than a three-hour flight from most Texas cities.
Cover photo courtesy Hotel Valley Ho
Britni Rachal lives in Austin, Texas. She is a freelance journalist, full-time marketer, and a Realtor®. In addition to writing, Rachal enjoys traveling, event planning, fashion, fitness and serving the Austin community.